Usually, if you’re bein tailed by somethin, the thing that’s tailin ya doesn’t want ya to know about it. That’s likely why people call it bein tailed in the first place, on account of it’s somethin unseeable and unhearable that’s tailin after ya as quiet and natural-like as your own tail. Move along, nothin to see here, just your own tail tailin ya down the trail…
I’ve been tailed before, mostly by coyotes or sometimes by a big, bored cat, but also by people-colts here on the County Island, like I told about before, and people-colts suck at tailin horses, pardon my french. You know what else sucks at tailin? Well, you’ll know. Shortly, so to speak.
Me and my tail, and my bucket gal, were tailin down a dirt road in the blessed cool peacefulness of an early mornin in the hot time, mindin our own business as is proper.
Somethin tickled my back fetlocks about as soft as a fly that comes in for a landin and then changes his mind at the last minute. So I kept walkin. And it tickled me again. Then the tickle maybe woofed at me, which seemed funny. So I turned my head and the bucket gal turned hers, but we didn’t see anything.
“Boooooo!” A man’s voice hollered, and I thought, well, boo’s a terrible thing to yell at a horse, ain’t it? And I kept walkin.
“Boo! C’mere! BOOOO!”
I turned again and somethin shot past my front hoof faster than a rattlesnake’s strike. The boo was a dog! Barely. It was white with brown patches, and ears that flopped, and a fat baby belly, and a stub of a tail that couldn’t stay still, and the whole of it stood no taller than the top of my own hoof. The li’l pup planted itself in front of me, and set to givin me the biggest, baddest tiny barks full of what-for that I’ve ever heard in my entire horse-life. It was funny — I kinda liked it, in a pointless way.
I took a step toward it, mostly to try to hear way down there.
Away it skittered, but not toward the man that was callin it. It continued its discourse from a safer distance, with some up and down bouncin and some whole-body wigglin.
The bucket gal reined me away, and we set off walkin again. With a barkin Boo on my heels.
We stopped. Boo stopped.
We turned. Boo turned.
Boo’s fella came kinda close, but I sensed his greenhorn state and damn near smelled his fear that a big ol’ ranch horse such as myself might do him some bodily harm. But he also seemed scared I’d squash Boo. He wanted to get her, but she wouldn’t come close enough to him to get got, and also he wouldn’t come close enough to get her ‘cause she was too close to me. It was a stand-off that could’ve likely persisted ‘til sundown.
We tried again to leave the scene. I guess the bucket gal was hopin Boo’d head on home without havin a horse to harass.
But it didn’t work. Barkin Boo tailed us again. We turned back again. With a bark and a bounce, Boo backed right up.
I realized right then what I had before my hooves: a boo-cow! — which is to say, the itty-bitty County Island version of a moo-cow. In all my days, I never thought I’d wind up workin a boo-cow.
We moseyed toward li’l boo-cow again, and I put some pressure on her, in ranch lingo. I pointedly aimed both my ears at her and gave her my best workin-horse “git” face.
She bounced to the right, so I stepped to the right, and then I pushed her left.
Boo-cow thought it was a great game. She bounced farther left. I pushed her back to the right. And so on. She had some moves that’d make a catty cuttin horse boogie down with joy. Or, that’d make me stand stock still and let her use up all her own energy while I saved up mine. It’d be a long work day if a ranch horse danced around like a cuttin horse.
And pushin her back also wasn’t a peaceful process. She kept carryin on at me loudly, and her fella kept tryin to call her to no good end. I’m nearly fluent in dog, but puppy talk can be hard to pick up sometimes. I think she mostly was tellin me, “Play! Play! Play!” Such single-mindedness is real common among pups.
Her fella finally indicated his front ranch gate, and that I might be able to get his shorthorn of a boo-cow properly penned on the other side of it.
Which I did. And the bucket gal petted and praised me for my superior sortin skills. I may be rusty, but I still got it. And Boo’s fella said thanks as he scooped her into his arms once she was penned on his property. I reckon that’s one boo-cow that’s gonna be set out to graze on a real short tether from now on. I’d likely recommend a cow bell for her, too, but a cow bell’d be bigger and heavier than her whole head, so, well, there’s that.
If there’s any moral at all to this tale, which is questionable, I guess it’d be that sometimes an unexpected bit of Boo can be good for what tail’s ya.